Immigrants will be able to get up to a thousand dollars per home starting in May.

Regardless of his body ailments, Luis, 49, joined a caravan of more than 200 cars Tuesday that surrounded the state building in downtown Los Angeles to ask Governor Gavin Newsom to take workers into account. undocumented during the coronavirus pandemic.

The "Caravan of Essential and Excluded Workers" included day laborers, domestic workers, restaurants and other low-wage industries.

Luis, who has worked as a day laborer for more than 20 years, said that many of them have no way of verifying that they work, since they do not have a bank account, their jobs are often sporadic and constantly change.

“Sometimes we work two or three days a week. We do the worst jobs that other people don't want to do and now we need a little help, ”said Luis, who did not want to provide his last name due to his immigration status.

Fortunately for protesters, their movement was met Wednesday by announcing that California will be the first state to financially assist undocumented workers affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Governor Gavin Newsom said Thursday at a press conference that the state's $ 75 million "Immigrant Disaster Relief Fund" will support undocumented Californians who are affected and ineligible for unemployment benefits and disaster relief, including the CARES Law, due to their immigration status.

Additionally, philanthropic partners Emerson Collective, Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, The James Irvine Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and an anonymous donor, among others, pledged to raise an additional $ 50 million to support undocumented Californians.

“All Californians, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, must know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together, ”Governor Newsom said.

It is estimated that around 150,000 undocumented adult Californians will receive a one-time cash benefit of $ 500 per adult, with a limit of $ 1,000 per household to meet the specific needs of the pandemic.

Details of how the money will be raised have not been specified, but it was announced that people may apply for support starting in May.

Leading in the nation

Newsom said California is a state where 27% of the inhabitants are foreign-born and 10% of the workforce is undocumented.

"That's diversity on a scale that doesn't exist in any other state in our nation," Newsom said. "There are people in need, and this is a state that advances and always supports those in need, regardless of their (immigration) status."

Luis said that upon learning of the announcement, he was relieved that the help is coming at a good time. The day laborer center where he works has closed and due to his health condition it does not feel safe to go out on the streets to ask for work.

A little over a year ago Luis was diagnosed with kidney problems; situation that forced him to take dialysis three days a week.

"Now I'm just trying to get by with what little I have, but I can't afford to be everywhere looking for a job because of my condition," said Luis, who is the single parent of a 14-year-old teenager. "I thank the Governor because you can see that he wants to help us."

A caravan of more than 200 vehicles asks for help for immigrants. (Supplied)

Pablo Alvarado, co-director of the National Workers Network (NDLON), said the governor's announcement is a necessary step to close the widening gap between immigrants and vital assistance that could mean the difference between life and death for millions of Californians.

"The absolute failure of Congress and the sinister policies of the Trump Administration have created an internal human rights crisis with a disproportionate impact in California," said Alvarado. "As a consequence, California lawmakers have a legal responsibility and a moral obligation to respond accordingly."

For her part, Angélica Salas, director of the Pro Immigrant Human Rights Coalition (CHIRLA) said that this is a "bold initiative" since many undocumented and vulnerable mixed-state families were excluded from federal stimulus packages despite the fact that they often work in essential industries.

“This is an acknowledgment of the fact that immigrant families are essential to our state. Your financial and labor contributions keep us moving, ”said Salas. “This pandemic will affect us all for a time. We look forward to working with the state to ensure this program is successful as we continue to work for the permanent relief of California immigrants. ”

California recently developed an immigrant resource guide to provide information about COVID-19 related assistance, including public benefits, that are available to California immigrants.

To view the guide visit:


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